The straight party line vote in my home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations is an important tool of Democratic Party control — just check one box at the top and you’re done. That box almost always will be Democratic in the most Democratic state in the country.
It’s one of the reasons people like Congressman David Cicilline get elected and reelected even thought the state’s largest (and liberal) paper called him “untruthful” about Providence’s finances when he was Mayor.
Now Gov. Linc Chafee is seeking to do away with the party line vote, via ProJo:
Gov. Chafee supports efforts to eliminate the so-called “master lever” or straight party ticket voting option in Rhode Island.
In a statement Tuesday, he said the time has come for Rhode Island to join the majority of states that do not have the option, which allows voters to select all candidates from a political party with a single mark on the ballot.
“Any mechanism that contributes to voter confusion — and worse, voter disenfranchisement — should not be on the ballot,” said Chafee, an independent up for re-election in 2014.
Moderate Party founder Ken Block, one of Chafee’s rivals for governor in 2010, has been an outspoken advocate for ending the option.
In a statement, he said he was “thrilled” Chafee supports the cause. “This is an important electoral reform and the governor’s support is a crucial component to helping to end this harmful ballot device,” Block said.
I’m not holding my breath on this one, though. Democrats control the state, there’s no way they’re about to give up the “master lever.”